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How to Start Running: Step 6

Get ready to race

Illustration by Jason Schneider

You’ve been running around long enough. It’s time to get down on one knee, tie your laces, and commit. Robert Forster, owner of Phase IV Scientific Health & Performance Center in Santa Monica, has devised a simple six-week program that will get you to the starting line—and finish line—of your first 10K. For a more laid-back approach, follow the “Walk” option. The runs are defined in minutes instead of mileage to allow for those days when your energy may flag. During the first week, perform three of the same workouts, separated by 48 hours of recovery. The next five weeks call for two shorter runs and one longer run. Try to keep the long runs on the same day each week. All workouts should include the warm-up and cool-down described in Week One.

Week One
Run: Warm up with five minutes of walking, followed by 20 minutes of running. Cool down with five more minutes of walking.

Walk:
Warm up with ten minutes of walking; then run five minutes and walk two minutes, repeating that sequence twice more. Walk for five minutes to cool down.

Week Two
Run: Perform two 25-minute runs, and ramp up to 35 minutes for the third run.

Walk:
Over two days perform three nine-minute runs, with a two-minute walk in between. For the third run, do the same workout, but run for ten minutes each time.

Week Three
Run: Run for 35 minutes on two of your training days and for 40 minutes on another day.

Walk:
Run for three 12-minute sessions interspersed with a 2-minute walk. On the third day go for two 18-minute runs, with a 2-minute breather in between.

Week Four
Run: Run for 40 minutes on two days and 50 minutes on another day.

Walk:
Go for three 15-minute runs interspersed with 2-minute walks. On the third day go for two 21-minute runs.

Week Five
Run: A 60-minute run is your long session, with two 45-minute runs rounding out the rest of the week.

Walk:
Twice a week go for three 20-minute runs, broken up by a 2-minute walk. On another day do two 30-minute runs, separated by a 2-minute walk.

Week Six
Run: On two days run for 30 minutes.

Walk:
On two days do three 15-minute runs with the usual 2-minute walk. The third run will be the race.

Bike + Run